TEL AVIV, Israel, March 19 (UPI) -- The Israeli navy is touting growing capabilities to counter regional naval threats.
"The Israeli navy may be less publicized than other elements of the Israeli security forces but it is nevertheless one of the (military's) most crucial service arms," it said.
"Israel's maritime challenges have evolved in recent years as hostile forces in the region have improved their naval capabilities and terror groups pose the threat of underwater attack."
The service's underwater fleet is based on Dolphin class submarines equipped with advanced weapons and radar systems and feature a state-of-the-art weapons control system for sensor management, fire control, navigation and operations.
The naval force recently acquired three new Dolphin class submarines. One is operational and two more are on the way.
"We know that countries around us are strengthening their capabilities," Col. Sasi Chodeda, head of the navy's Combat Systems Division, said at a recent conference. "Egypt signed an agreement with Germany for the purchasing of advanced submarines, which were built from the same plans as our submarines.
"The Israeli navy is becoming a regional superpower in the submarine field. Our submarines provide a vital pillar in the state's security."
In reference to surface vessels, Chodeda said the Israeli navy has procured the Protector unmanned surface vehicle developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
The USVs are equipped with weapons and can identify and intercept threats during the day as well as at night through the use of forward looking infrared and laser rangefinders.